From Prostvac to Fear Then to Faith

Early 12th century Viking Christian chapel near Larvik, Norway; photo: Bjarne Gabrielsen

As many of you readers know, I have early stage, asymptomatic but advanced prostate cancer. After treatment with Provenge, I was informed (perhaps divinely through a former colleague) of a National Cancer Institute (NCI) clinical trial currently recruiting patients like myself. The protocol involves treatment with the vaccine Prostvac and the antibody therapy, Opdivo. I had written about this in earlier posts. Since that time, Yervoy (ipilimumab) has been removed from the trial and most recently a large Phase 3 trial of Prostvac has been discontinued. Independently, I had been informed about the potential toxicity of Yervoy which reinforced my anticipation of the trial; but then the news of Prostvac’s lack of success seriously dampened my enthusiasm. It was just at that time when a devotional (August 13th) from Our Daily Bread Ministries placated my fears and inflated my faith that I was indeed pursuing the right track in my treatment.

The message was from an Old Testament prophet named Habakkuk who served as an inspiring example of  someone who argued with God yet came to the point of trusting Him regardless of the impending circumstances. Habakkuk states (Hab. 3:16-19), “I heard and my heart pounded, my lips quivered at the sound; decay crept into my bones and my legs trembled.” However in contrast, “though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.”

What do we do when circumstances are beyond our control or when the outlook seems hopeless? The prophet Habakkuk’s situation was out of his control and the fear that he felt terrified him. The coming judgment could be catastrophic. Yet, in the midst of the impending chaos, Habakkuk made a choice to live by his faith and rejoice in God. He did not place his confidence and his faith in his circumstances, ability or resources but in the goodness and greatness of God. His trust in God compelled him to proclaim: “The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to treat on the heights.”

When we are faced with difficult or unknown circumstances, we too have only to place our faith and trust in God to be our strength. He is with us in everything we face.

Are you unsure of whether or not you have a personal relationship with God? See the following.

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